Slacktivism Won’t Get Gary Johnson Onto The Debate Stage

Gary Johnson, right, and his vice presidential candidate, William Weld, at the first Libertarian Party political rally of the 2016 campaign season, University of Nevada, Aug. 5, 2016.
Photo by Darron Birgenheier (Wikimedia Commons)

There has been quite a lot of noise of late from our collective military and veterans communities regarding IAVA’s Commander in Chief Forum scheduled for Sept. 7.

While the event will be exclusively focused on military and veterans issues and televised live on both NBC and MSNBC, it will only include Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, excluding third-party candidates, specifically Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

Many are upset that Johnson has been excluded from the town hall event, given his popularity among the military and veterans community. "This is not about MSNBC," Dylan Milroy, a Marine Corps vet who is fighting have Johnson appear at the NBC-IAVA event, told Military Times. "This is about the IAVA claiming to represent ... veterans while actively ignoring them by the masses."

The problem with this argument is that while Johnson may be popular among the military population, he is only polling at about 8% nationwide, according to Real Clear Politics. And even though a televised town hall dedicated to military and veterans issues is a huge accomplishment for our community, it doesn’t mean that it should be tailored exclusively to what our community wants. Trump and Clinton combined are polling at more than 80% across the country; and therefore, it makes sense why NBC is not including third-party candidates.

Related: 6 Types Of Vets Dominating Your Social Media This Election »

Now, I’m an equality guy. I think that inclusion and diversity are incredibly important to our country’s continued success on the world stage, but the reality is that elections are about choices. We had a primary and the majority of the country, in each of the parties, has spoken. Democrats want Hillary Clinton and Republicans want Donald Trump. Something I often hear from our communities is a shared disdain that “everyone gets a trophy.” I am not a fan of that either. Everyone doesn't take turns. So why do we throw a fit and demand that someone who right now has virtually no chance of winning the presidency take away the limited time provided to the two candidates who do a chance?

Rather than complaining about IAVA and NBC excluding Johnson, why not do what we did in the military and take action toward a solution? If you want to actually support Johnson, or any of the candidates, get involved in the election. Each candidate has affinity groups that you can sign up with, even some that are specific to military and veterans.

As veterans, people want to hear what we think about the world. You can call voters through phone banks, knock on doors in battleground states, raise money, hand out fliers, or share your opinion in the media. You have the power to change the conversation.

So if you want to see Johnson on stage with Clinton and Trump, then you should take action. Support his campaign to get him over the 15% threshold required for him to participate in the debates. You can also do the same for Clinton, Trump, or Jill Stein. The first debate is Sept. 26 and polls are happening every day.

In the military, we sacrificed our lives and careers toward the interests of the nation. As veterans, we have an obligation to continue that service and there is no better way to do that than through engaging in electing our political leaders. Stop complaining about the status quo and start taking action to make a difference.

An Austrian Jagdkommando K9 unit conducts training (Austrian Armed Forces photo)

An Austrian soldier was apparently killed by two military working dogs that he was charged with feeding, the Austrian Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday.

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Conflict photographer Lynsey Addario has seen a hell of a lot of combat over the past twenty years. She patrolled Afghanistan's Helmand Province with the Marines, accompanied the Army on night raids in Baghdad, took artillery fire with rebel fighters in Libya, and has taken photos in countless other wars and humanitarian disasters around the world.

Along the way, Addario captured images of plenty of women serving with pride in uniform, not only in the U.S. armed forces, but also on the battlefields of Syria, Colombia, South Sudan and Israel. Her photographs are the subject of a new article in the November 2019 special issue of National Geographic, "Women: A Century of Change," the magazine's first-ever edition written and photographed exclusively by women.

The photos showcase the wide range of goals and ideals for which these women took up arms. Addario's work includes captivating vignettes of a seasoned guerrilla fighter in the jungles of Colombia; a team of Israeli military police patrolling the streets of Jerusalem; and a unit of Kurdish women guarding ISIS refugees in Syria. Some fight to prove themselves, others seek to ignite social change in their home country, and others do it to liberate other women from the grip of ISIS.

Addario visited several active war zones for the piece, but she found herself shaken by something much closer to home: the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Addario discussed her visit to boot camp and her other travels in an interview with Task & Purpose, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead

"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."


Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.

They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.

As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.

But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.

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Photo: ABC News/screenshot

Federal court judge Reggie Walton in Washington D.C. has ruled Hoda Muthana, a young woman who left her family in Hoover, Alabama, to join ISIS, is not a U.S. citizen, her attorneys told Thursday.

The ruling means the government does not recognize her a citizen of the United States, even though she was born in the U.S.

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Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- The Marine Corps could train as many as eight co-ed companies at boot camp each year, and the general overseeing the effort is hitting back against those complaining that the move is lowering training standards.

"Get over it," Maj. Gen. William Mullen, the head of Training and Education Command told on Thursday. "We're still making Marines like we used to. That has not changed."

Mullen, a career infantry officer who has led troops in combat — including in Fallujah, Iraq — said Marines have likely been complaining about falling standards since 1775.

"I'm assuming that the second Marine walking into Tun Tavern was like 'You know ... our standards have gone down. They're just not the same as it they used to be,'" Mullen said, referring to the service's famous birthplace. "That has always been going on in the history of the Marine Corps."

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